The Academy players in United's matchday squad
With several key first-team players injured, Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has called upon talents from the club’s Under-23s side for tonight's game against Chelsea.
Fielding questions from journalists on Wednesday afternoon, the German coach said it’s “possible” that some younger players could be given opportunities during the injury crisis.
“We have quite a few players missing tomorrow, and one or two still with question marks, so we will have to wait and see. I already played Hannibal at Liverpool, so it's possible, but we also have to be fair enough to those players. It has to be the right moment and they should have a chance to play well and to perform well so it's not just pushing them into a game. I think it should also be the right moment."
Rangnick has named four current Academy players in his matchday squad, all as substitutes, and you can read about them below...
Training Highlights: All-out action
Don't miss the Fernandes finish (00:17), Hannibal skill (00:41) and Shoretire goal (01:28) in our training edit...
A 19-year-old attacking full-back signed from Real Madrid in 2020, Fernandez has recently been training with the first team and in the absence of Luke Shaw, the young Spaniard could provide cover for Alex Telles. He has been a regular in the club’s Under-23 side this season but this is his first inclusion in a senior matchday squad.
Garnacho grew up in Madrid where he spent several years in Atletico’s youth set-up. Eligible to represent Argentina through his mother, the 17-year-old received a first call-up for La Albiceleste recently, and as well as turning out for their Under-20s, he spent time training with a senior squad that included Lionel Messi. His contributions to the Under-18s' run to the FA Youth Cup final include an acrobatic finish against Scunthorpe United, a wonderful solo goal at Everton's expense and further strikes against Leicester City (2) and Wolves. He was an unused substitute in the first-team games against Norwich, Liverpool and Arsenal.
The Tunisian midfielder joined United from AS Monaco in 2019 and he made his first-team debut in May 2021 with a substitute appearance against Wolves. He was named Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year in the same month after an impressive season at Under-23s level. The 19-year-old represented his country at both the FIFA Arab Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations during the last winter, and he has now played 12 times for his country. Hannibal made his second senior appearance for United in this month’s away defeat at Liverpool, coming on in the 84th minute at Anfield.
Shoretire's first-team bow came at the age of 17, in February 2021’s win over Newcastle United. He became the club’s second-youngest Premier League player with that appearance, and then broke Norman Whiteside’s European record when facing Real Sociedad in the UEFA Europa League. Last year, he was named Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year. The England Under-18 international has spent this season playing for United's Under-23s, and he was given a significant substitute appearance in December’s UEFA Champions League draw with BSC Young Boys.